2 Dunellen teens among those injured in Times Square

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK -

Two Dunellen high school students were among the nearly two dozen people injured when a Navy veteran allegedly rammed his car into pedestrians in New York’s Times Square Thursday morning.

School officials tell News 12 New Jersey that the students were hospitalized but did not elaborate on the extent of their injuries.

Bronx resident Richard Rojas, 26, is accused of the crime. Rojas told police that he had been smoking marijuana laced with the hallucinogenic drug PCP, according to a criminal complaint.

Eighteen-year-old Alyssa Elsman, of Portage, Michigan, was killed in the crash. Her 13-year-old sister was among the injured.

Police are calling the incident an intentional act.

Rojas made his first court appearance Friday to face the charges. He didn't enter a plea and was held without bail.

Officials say that Rojas drove his car from his home through Times Square, then made a U-turn, steered his car onto a sidewalk, and roared back up the sidewalk, plowing through helpless tourists for three blocks before he crashed his car into protective barriers.

Photographers snapped pictures of a wild-eyed Rojas after he climbed from the wrecked car and ran through the street waving his arms. A group that included a security supervisor at a nearby Planet Hollywood restaurant tackled him.

After he was detained, he said he wanted to "kill them all" and police should have shot him to stop him, a prosecutor said in court Friday.

Officials are awaiting toxicology results, though Rojas "had glassy eyes, slurred speech, and was unsteady," during his arrest, the complaint said.

He also had two previous drunken driving cases.

Rojas’s next scheduled court appearance is May 24.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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